By Dinesh K. Sharma
As Canada starts accepting applications for immigration under the skilled professional category, here are the seven things every professional thinking of migrating to Canada should not ignore. As the old saying goes, forewarned is forearmed.
Number 1: If you are above 35 of age and well settled in your career, then think very very hard. You don’t know the terrible consequences of uprooting yourself, and nobody will tell you this. Immigration Canada won’t tell you this because they want certain number of people to come here and pay taxes, etc. Immigration agents won’t tell you because all they are bothered about are their fees. Your relatives and friends already settled in Canada won’t tell you the real picture. In fact, in most cases, desis give exaggerated stories about themselves, so you should not trust their stories. Do your own due diligence because not for nothing, tons of professional immigrants, including doctors, are forced to drive cabs in this country. Again, many immigrant professionals succeed, many don’t.
Number 2: Don’t get too impressed by the tales of others. These tales could be like first-rate trailers of third-rate movies. Haven’t you experienced so many times that trailers mislead? Thrilled by these trailers, you buy tickets to see those movies. But once you are inside the theatre, you find that the movie is boring and a waste of time. Bollywood filmmakers these days shoot huge chunks of their films in western countries, showing huge wide spaces, desi heroes dancing with beautiful white girls, etc. Don’t get too impressed by this `phoren’ craze. All that glitters is not gold. Reality will hit you like a ton of bricks.
Number 3: Never resign your job. Take a long leave – of six months to one year – and then land in Canada. See and feel the place and explore the job avenues. If your interactions make you believe that you can re-build your career, then take the next step. It is advisable that if you are married and have a family, then come alone first. Because if you decide to move back to India – that so many professionals have done and still do – you will be spared the huge expenses of accommodation and air fares.
Number 4: Don’t fool yourself into believing that your relatives or friends in Canada will help you much. Yes a few do. But most will put you up in their basement or somewhere for a few days, and then you are on your own. That is the system. People don’t have much time for others.
Number 5: Ask yourself if you are ready for the long haul because once you land in Canada, you will have to start your career from a scratch or at the lowest rung. It may take years and lots of money to `upgrade’ your professional credentials (which in most cases are an excuse to make money off new immigrants), and then begin at the bottom. Worse still, you may spend your time and money to upgrade your skills and still not get that job. This is a real possibility. Are you ready for that? Don’t do what most desis do: That once you somehow get your foot into Canada or the US or wherever, things will work out!
Number 6: Be ready for long professional, social, financial and emotional disruptions. Lack of a job and money will throw your family life into a chaos. If you think you can bank on your relatives and others, then think very hard. Till now you were just watching the Canadian trailer that painted a rosy picture. Reality kicks in when you land in Canada.
Number 7: Emigrating only for the sake of your children.This is an old ghisa-pita answer that most desis give. Yes, every parent should give their kids a better future. Does that mean you cannot give a great future to your kids in India? What about your life that you may be forced to put on hold? Raising children abroad is a different ballgame altogether. In India, children once grown up still take care of their elders. But in the western world, they will be out of your life once they cross the age of 16, and you may end up in an old-age care centre (unless you move back to India).
Remember, the above-mentioned seven points are only for professionals to ponder. But if you are ready to work any job, then don’t take the trouble of thinking hard.